Skip to content

Activism vs Advocacy: Which One is Viewed as More Effective?

Activism vs Advocacy

In the modern world, activism vs advocacy is two terms that have become synonymous with each other. Some people think that activism and advocacy are the same things. They’re not. Activism takes direct action to fight for social change, whereas advocacy uses your voice to create positive societal change. The difference between these two may seem small, but there’s a world of difference between them. Let me explain what I mean.

Activism vs Advocacy can be difficult to discern.

Advocacy entails presenting a message and advocating for change, while activism involves direct action to create change.

As an advocate, your goal might be to communicate with lawmakers to make changes happen through legislation. As an activist, your goal might be to organize protests or other actions that pressure decision-makers to make changes without legislative involvement.

One of the most important distinctions between activists and advocates is that activists are more likely to take risks than advocates because they do more than just talking about an issue.

In the last few months, I have been drawn to activism over advocacy. What do I mean by these two different terms?  In a nutshell, an activist takes direct action to bring about change or protests against injustice, while an advocate works on behalf of a cause to make positive changes happen.

Activists tend to be more involved with the community and are often seen as people that can’t wait for something good to happen, so they take it into their own hands. Advocates will work behind the scenes with legislators and other decision-makers to create change from the top down. You may also find many activists working in grassroots organizations working directly with communities affected by social justice issues like poverty, immigration reform, and the environment.


In the past, activism has been seen as a more radical form of protest.

However, advocacy is now being seen by many to be a better form of resistance because it gives people hope for change and opportunity.

Activism is more of an outward protest than advocacy. It is sometimes a level of aggression that advocates may not take with their approach. This can be seen in how activists do things like public demonstrations while advocates focus on getting a law passed.

The use of activism has been necessary for some instances for the minority to have their voices heard, but it is by no means always the best way. Advocates are better at helping people see and understand where they are coming from to compromise on issues and legislation that will impact them. These two types of supporters are both important, and there should be a balance between the two at all times.

In certain instances, there is no alternative to activism. It has been necessary for the gay rights movement and protests on racism because it was either this or nothing. Both of these cases have seen more advocacy as the years go on so that there can be a slow change where laws are not immediately changed in one direction or another. Instead, citizens will start to see things differently and come up with different solutions to problems. These changes might not happen right away, but they will take place over time when advocates are involved in trying to make them happen within their communities and throughout our nation as a whole.

Advocates looking for more information about advocacy may do well to look online for tips on ways they can get their voices heard. There are many advocacy organizations available. They will provide information on how people can get involved in this process, especially if they want to see some quick results. It only takes a few hours of work per week for most advocates, so it can fit into their schedules without causing major problems.

Getting more education about advocacy may also help those looking for it discover new reasons why this is so important. Over time as petitions and other resources start coming in through advocacy groups, there will be plenty of evidence that this approach is the best way to change things within our government system. More activists will begin joining these affiliate groups because they do not feel like there is any point in out in the streets over what they are protesting.

Those looking for a change within our nation’s government system should consider looking into advocacy before trying anything else. This is one way people can make their voices heard and get others to listen to what they say about policy changes, legislation, and much more. Advocates can have as little or as much influence in politics as they want based on how hard or easy it is to work with legislators and other government officials. The advice of those around you may be helpful, but ultimately you will have to find out what works best for your own schedule and your own individual voice.


This is something that advocates should keep in mind with their activism efforts.

You have to listen to what others are saying and be able to change your approach when it is needed. In some cases, you might find yourself ignoring the activists or those who are outright against you because they do not understand your position on a certain issue. It only takes one person to make a difference to get others behind them to support their cause.

Advocates should sometimes look at examples of activism, such as sit-ins during the 60s civil rights movement and boycotts in the 70s over Vietnam, for lessons about how these protests worked out for people. While today many more people feel like this type of action is unnecessary, there are still instances where it will be necessary to bring people together over an issue and understand that they need to make a change somewhere in the system.

Social movements can learn about advocacy by participating in these activities with their friends or other activists on the same page. These actions have helped get more members to join social movements because they see how serious advocates are with what they do. There is nothing wrong with demonstrations like this so long as those who participate know a time and place for such things. Sometimes riots and sit-ins will help get more attention from potential recruits, while other times, it might alienate those you really want to reach out to.

Do you now know the difference between activism and advocacy?

Activism is when one takes direct action to change something that they find unjust. An example of this would be a protest or rally. On the other hand, advocacy creates positive change for an issue by pressuring decision-makers through lobbying and campaigning. The best way to pursue either type of activism in your community is to educate yourself first on what it’s like to be a part of these movements to make informed decisions about which path will work best for you personally.

In a world where activism is cool and advocacy is lame, it’s time to dispel the myths. Activism means taking direct action to support something you believe in, like boycotting companies that don’t pay their workers enough or protesting for climate change legislation. Advocacy can be just as powerful: if you’re an advocate for people on food stamps who need help navigating the system, then you are fighting for social justice by giving them the information they may not otherwise have access to.

So which one should you choose? Well, both! They work together – activism helps us control our futures while advocating creates opportunities we never knew existed. And don’t give up when things get tough; sometimes things seem impossible until somebody takes action and makes it happen.

Viable Outreach | Activism for the 99%